Did you ever love doing personality quizzes when you were younger? They used to be one of my favourite bits of magazines!
And then as I got older I discovered other types of personality tests, more in-depth ones based on psychological research.
One of the tests that really struck a chord with me was the one that measures whether you’re Type A or B personality. For those unfamiliar with the two personality types here’s a quick summary (thank you, Wikipedia, fount of all knowledge):
Type A: Ambitious, rigidly organised, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics”, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.
Type B: Work steadily, and may enjoy achievement, although they have a greater tendency to disregard physical or mental stress when they do not achieve. When faced with competition, they may focus less on winning or losing than Type As, and more on enjoying the game regardless of winning or losing. Unlike the Type A personality’s rhythm of multi-tasked careers, Type B individuals are sometimes attracted to careers of creativity. Their personal character may enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, and think of the “outer and inner world”.
(FYI, Type Bs are meant to suffer from stress less, and as a result suffer less cardiovascular disease…).
Sure, there are perks to being a Type A personality: you always get things done and on time; you finish them off to a high standard; things never get left. But my God it’s exhausting. The stress. The worry. The fear of failure. Its not always an enjoyable way to live your life.
However after I went to therapy I noticed a change. I learnt to chill out. Well, as much as an extreme Type A personality can chill out! It’s a “journey”, but I’m learning to care less, get less stressed and actually now wish everyone else was more relaxed too!
But it also meant things didn’t get done to perfection. Things weren’t always done on time, I wasn’t ambitious, and didn’t have the urge to be super proactive. And this made me freak out! Things went wrong, and I felt like I was failing. It felt like I wasn’t capable any more and that my skills were crumbling. I must be doing something horribly wrong, right?!
I’d simply reprioritised. Rather than making work the priority, I made me the priority. Rather than slogging my guts over a deadline, I made sure that I came first: that I slept, ate, and was happy. I recognised that perfectionism doesn’t exist, as you may spend hours making something perfect for one person, only to find another person hates it. As I said, I’m still learning this way of life. I still feel guilty if I leave work on time or like a failure if someone else works harder than me. But I don’t have a break down if the laundry doesn’t get done and I allow myself an hour of lying on the sofa with my boyfriend instead…if that’s what my body needs.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be incredibly useful to find out more about what kind of personality you have. It helps you understand how you react to certain situations; how you learn; what you enjoy; and how to make the most of your life. But these tests often teach us that we’re stuck that way for the rest of your life. That if you don’t live up to thta certain way of living then you’re failing. But maybe you’re just adapting to a more balanced way of life?
If you want to find out what personality type you have then check out this website. To show how far I came I only scored 252, which whilst high is nowhere near as high I would have come a few years ago. My stress levels are on the decrease!
What personality type are you?